Promoting positive emotional health of children of transient armed forces families

Eodanable, M. and Lauchlan, F. (2012) Promoting positive emotional health of children of transient armed forces families. School Psychology International, 33 (1). pp. 22-38. ISSN 0143-0343

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The focus of this research was to promote emotional health in a small primary school (n = 180), with a highly transient pupil population of armed forces children (Service children). Negative effects of pupil mobility have been found to relate to academic attainment (Dobson, Henthorne, & Lynas, 2000; Mott, 2002), but its effect on social and emotional development is less specific. A multi-stranded approach to intervention was used, which included the delivery of pilot curricular materials on emotional literacy to two classes in the school, an educational programme (Seasons for Growth) delivered to a smaller group of pupils and the development of a specific critical incident policy in the event of a casualty notification. Post-intervention, evaluation measures did not point to increases in pupils’ emotional literacy scores but the qualitative data indicated that the emotional literacy curriculum did receive positive ratings by pupils and staff. Findings suggest the importance of an emotional health curriculum for a mobile school community and the role of parental involvement to sustain curricular interventions. Further research could investigate the extent of behavioural and emotional difficulties for mobile pupils across primary and secondary schools and the effect of a whole school approach to emotional literacy for this group of pupils. Implications for Educational Psychologists’ (EP) practice indicate an increasing role in psycho-education and integrated work with health agencies.